Plumbers sentenced for illegal gas work

Published:  21 December, 2010

Three plumbers have been fined this month for carrying out illegal gas work on domestic gas appliances.

Paul Fromet of Cheshunt, and Michael Wright of Waltham Cross, fitted a boiler in a house in Chevington, Suffolk. Following a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court heard that neither plumber was registered with Gas Safe.

The boiler had not been adjusted to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which supplied the property. As a result, the boiler was producing more than 200 times the recommended level of carbon monoxide. 

Both men admitted breaching Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. They received a two-year conditional discharge and were ordered to pay costs of £250 each.

In a separate prosecution, Enfield-based Tony MacTaggart, who also trades as TJM Heating & Plumbing, was found to have lied to homeowners about being registered with Gas Safe.

MacTaggart installed a boiler in a house in Cheshunt. After the homeowners complained to Gas Safe about his work, inspectors visited the property and found the boiler to be in a dangerous condition.

HSE found that MacTaggart had been claiming to be Gas Safe registered, carrying out work and then tricking registered engineers into signing off the installations by asking them to carry out annual gas safety inspections.

He was fined £2,500, ordered to pay full costs of £902 as well as a victim surcharge of £15.

HSE inspector Stephen Manley, said: "It is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out work on a gas appliance. When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine, they are also putting their customers' lives at risk.

"Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it.

"HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way."